student loan

student loan

Is Student Loan Consolidation Right For You?

student-loansSix months after you graduate, those lenders are going to want their money, and that means you may have to manage some serious debt.

I’m up to my eyeballs in it and considering consolidation. It may sound like a scary word for you new borrowers out there, but, like it or not, loan consolidation may be necessary if you’re having a hard time keeping up with your student loan payments. But keep in mind, it’s not right for everybody.

Here are five points you must consider before choosing student loan consolidation.

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Student Debt – Who is to Blame?

478790_loan_applicationCollege Board® recently found in a recent study that the average student debt from a private school for bachelor’s degree was around $22,380.

In another study, according to the research and advocacy organization Project on Student Debt, in Oakland, California, 10 percent of 2007 and 2008 graduates had accumulated over $40,000 worth of student loan debt. They gathered this data per calculated Federal statistics.

While the students are burdened with the debt, in my opinion, the responsibility also falls upon the financial loan providers and the colleges who connect the students with their loan sharks.

In reality though, prestigious universities are not likely to discourage student loans to afford their hefty tuition rates.

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President Obama Signs New Education Reform Act

Image Via CBS.com

Image Via CBS.com

On March 30, 2010 at the Alexandria campus of Northern Virginia Community College, President Obama signed into effect the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. This act was “two major victories that will improve the lives of our people for generations to come,” said President Obama.

This education act will save taxpayers almost $70 billion by removing banks’ abilities to act as middlemen in the student loan process. Instead, this money will be moved into the Pell Grant program to help fund community colleges and colleges that have been historically black colleges.

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New Student Loan Reform Will Improve Student Funding

obama educationLast week, President Obama passed the historical Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act. Not only does this bill seriously alter access to health care, but it also significantly improves the way students can fund their post-secondary education.

Here are some of the most notable highlights of the bill.

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Woman Owes $555k in Student Loans

spiraling staircaseWhile it’s not morally right to feel better because of another’s misfortune, this story may have students across the country feel just a bit better about the amount of money they will owe in student loans upon graduation.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Michelle Bisutti, a 41-year-old woman from Columbus, Ohio borrowed $250,000 to pay for medical school in 1999. The debt has since increased to $555,000.

Part of the spiraling effect is the result of her deferring loan payments while she completed her residency, default charges and relentlessly compounding interest rates, according to the Wall Street Journal. While in school, her loans accumulated interest with variable rates ranging from 3 percent to 11 percent.

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Economy Extends College Career by Two Years

presitigous schoolMost people think that when students are applying to colleges, they are looking for the most prestigious school; students must want to go to the school that offers the best degrees for their fields. However, this isn’t really the case.

A new study by Public Agenda said that students are more concerned with how much an education will end up costing them than with the prestige associated with each school.

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College Students Should Ask About Average Total Student Loan Debt

If you’re looking at colleges, one of your main considerations is probably going to be cost.  You’ve got your eye out for certain numbers: Price of tuition, Total expenses per year, Average total financial aid package and Average need-based financial aid package.

But here’s a question students and parents don’t often think to ask, and it’s this:

What’s the average student loan debt of a graduating student?

student loansThe answer to this question isn’t a mystery.  If you ask someone in the admissions office, they’ll tell you right away, or look it up. And this information is readily available on websites for organizations like The Princeton Review.  No one tries to keep that information secret. It’s just that people don’t often ask.

Why is this an important question?  It gives you a good sense of how much need realistically is not being met by the college and other financial aid sources.  The FAFSA tells schools what a student’s “official” need is–but that doesn’t always reflect reality. If students are taking out excessive amounts of loans, that’s a good sign that they need for money that the school can’t offer.  On the other hand, if the average loan amount is less than at comparable schools, that’s a good sign that the school is more affordable than you might think.

Of course, a little bit of iva advice would make you understand that the loan debt statistic isn’t perfect.  If there are an unusual amount of socioeconomically privileged students at the school, that debt number might be low because many students won’t need to take out loans.  And if there’s an unusual amount of socioeconomically disadvantaged students, these students might be eligible for special aid, therefore freeing them from the burden of loans.

However, imperfect as this information may be, be sure to find out about average student debt, as you need as much information as you can get about how much a college education is going to cost you.



Good News About Student Loans

Here’s a welcome change—some good news about student loans. In response to the worsening economy and the credit crunch, the U.S. federal government has enacted some recent policy changes that will make it easier to get student loans, and a little less painful for both students and parents to pay them back.student loans

Here’s a summary of the recent changes:

  • The Stafford loan program has been expanded. Most undergraduates will now be eligible to borrow up to $5500 per year, and most upperclassmen will now be eligible for $7500. Virtually all students will be eligible to receive Stafford loans as long as they fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students who are 24 years old and above, or who are independent of their parents, will be able to borrow an additional $6000. These Stafford loans will come with an interest rate of no more than 7.25%.
  • Needy students will be eligible for a lower Stafford loan interest rate of 6%– and further cuts are in the works.
  • Interest rates will drop to 4.21% on all unconsolidated student loans issued before July 1, 2006. This includes loans that are currently being paid back, as well as loans that are not.
  • Parents who take out a new PLUS loan can now defer payments until six months after their child has graduated from school. In addition, it’s become easier for parents to qualify for PLUS loans. And if a parent is denied a PLUS loan because of credit problems, the child is then eligible for additional Stafford Loan funds.

Loans are still a burden, of course, and these actions don’t solve the problem that a college education has become overwhelmingly expensive for students and families. But perhaps this is a move in the right direction.



Financial Institutions Refuse Loans to Community College Students

According to a recent article in the New York Times, some major financial institutions have been dealing with the credit crunch by refusing student loans to students at community colleges, for-profit online universities, and other schools that are considered less prestigious. In some cases, students at these schools have received student loans, but with higher interest rates and less favorable terms. Some banks are more eager to drop students loans than others. In California, Citibank has dropped its student loan program for all community colleges in the state.

Why are lending institutions doing this? It’s all about money, of course. Yes, many of the loans made to students at “less desirable” institutions are smaller—especially loans made to community college student, since these schools are less expensive and only require two years to get a degree. However, students at more elite schools are considered lower risk because these students are (according to the banks) more likely to earn more money in the long run.

Come again?

If this trend continues, the ramifications are quite troubling. It means that the people who need the loans most won’t be able to get them. Many of these people won’t go to school, which will further exacerbate the gap between the rich and the poor. And many of these students will go to school and either wind up deeply in debt or work long hours to be able to afford the expense. Long hours at a job may take away students’ ability to do well in school—and at the community college level, this may mean a student can’t transfer to a four year college.

It’s not illegal for banks to reject categories of students for student loans. But the ethics of this are, of course, questionable.



NextStudent.com finds student loans and scholarships

Student LoansStarting at an early age, parents encourage their children to strive for great things. Children are taught that if they do well in school and work hard, they can be anything they want to be professionally. Without an advanced education though, these goals can be difficult to achieve. The professional workforce is constantly changing. Pressure is being placed on those that want good careers to receive higher education. A high school diploma is no longer enough to be what many deem as successful. For many aspiring to go to college or graduate school, the world of student loans can be an important part of making dreams a reality.
If you are newly entering college, finding and understanding student loans can be very intimidating. It’s helpful to have someone explain how everything works and walk you through the process of filling out applications.

One helpful site for such information is NextStudent.com. This site provides helpful information on applying for student loans as well as consolidating them. NextStudent.com offers a free scholarship search engine with over 5.9 million individual awards, free one-on-one counseling with a personally assigned Education Finance Advisor, financial aid top tips and low-cost student loans. There are also many helpful resources available like a directory of schools and a feature that compares loans. With NextStudent.com you can even apply for student loans directly through the web site.

Many student loan sites cater only to undergraduate students. NextStudent.com offers tools for graduate students including fellowships and graduate student loans to help pay for post-graduate education. NextStudent.com has private student loans available with many features not available through other student loan providers. NextStudent.com features a fast and easy application with approval in as little as 15 minutes. You can also enjoy loan amounts up to the full cost of your tuition, no application fees, no application deadlines, no payments for students until after you’ve graduated or dropped below half time enrollment, money sent directly to you and possible tax deductible interest.

Some of the benefits of applying for NextStudent.com Graduate PLUS Student Loans allow you to lock in your graduate student loan payments, no application fees or prepayment penalties and generous borrowing limits. The last thing you need to be worried about while in school is paying back student loans. This way you can focus on learning so that you’re ready for that dream job after graduation. Once you’ve graduated and it’s time to pay back your loans, you can also use NextStudent.com for loan consolidation. You’ll bundle all your federal student loans into one easy-to-manage loan with one monthly payment. By consolidating your loans, you can quite possibly cut monthly payments in half.

If you’re going to college or graduate school, chances are you’re going to need some help paying for it. Get help applying for your loans from a site you can trust and do all your loan shopping in one location. NextStudent.com can help you get the academic edge without stressing about money. Get your money when you need it so you can head down the path to success.





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